Wed, 19 May 2021

HAVANA, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's ex-president and current first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), Raul Castro, on Friday denounced the United States' "economic war" against the island.

"The United States is waging the most comprehensive and unequal economic war against Cuba," Castro said as he presented a key report at the opening of the PCC's eighth Congress, state news agency Prensa Latina said.

Washington poses the greatest threat to world peace and security, which explains the weight of its six-decade economic blockade of Cuba that harms Havana's relations with practically all nations, said Castro.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump's administration imposed more than 240 sanction measures on Cuba from 2017 until he left office, to intensify the blockade amid the scourge of the novel coronavirus pandemic, attesting to the "ruthless nature of imperialism," Castro said.

Castro rejected campaigns that try to downplay the damage caused by the ongoing blockade, noting Washington expanded its web of sanctions to penalize some 231 Cuban companies or agencies, many involved in supplying the people with basic goods, as well as others in the tourism and financial sectors.

"The intention is to sabotage the business system, break state management and promote chaos, strangle the country and cause social unrest," Castro said.

While Washington stepped up its financial persecution of the small Caribbean island, the Cuban government had to allocate more resources to tackling the pandemic, with higher costs due to U.S. sanctions, said Castro.

Still, Cuba is willing to maintain cordial ties with the U.S. government, as long as it respects its system of socialism, right to exercise full sovereignty and independence, and to pursue its own foreign policy, he said.

The eighth Congress of the PCC, which convenes until April 19, a significant date on which Cuba will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the country's victory at Playa Giron and the defeat of U.S. invading forces.

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